The curriculum at Little Zion Preschool is committed to helping your child become a life long reader with an enhanced knowledge of letters, sounds and writing. Language and Literacy development is more then ABC's, it is also about sight words, an expansive vocabulary, comprehension of stories and strong phonemic awareness. At Little Zion Preschool you can expect a curriculum that addresses all of these areas each week, building upon previous knowledge and helping your child become confident when working with letters and sounds.
It begins in the Threes' program with a focus on recognition of the letters in the child's name, and beginning to learn how to write these letters. Story time is about foreshadowing what will happen next, using creativity to story tell as well as remembering aspects of stories. All great comprehension and book skills!
The Fours' program takes children to the next level by teaching Sight Word songs, letter of the week recognition, a word wall for writing independently, phonic games and more. Children write or draw their thoughts and even create their own dictionary for the end of the year.
Individuals who can think out of the box and find creative solutions have an enormous skill. Children are naturally gifted in this aspect of learning, being willing to try new experiences and not be held down by contemporary limits. They may know the sky is blue but who says they cannot make it pink in their picture! Learning and fully exploring the arts is a part of strengthening their creativity. At Little Zion Preschool we explore the arts through music, dance, drama and artwork.
Art experiences take a number of forms. There is a balance between direction and letting a child create something their own way. Children learn about famous masterpieces and the artists who created them, recreating different pieces with their individual touch for an annual Parent Appreciation Art Gallery Show.
Children are also in motion frequently and learning kinetically is important for young children. In our programs we learn through movement whether it be learning to line dance or doing yoga, expressing and learning through body movement builds knowledge for all. Music appreciation and knowledge goes hand and hand with dancing. Children learn new songs based on curriculum themes along with their favorite songs each day. We also use instruments to create their own music, Fours' program learn special songs for numerous performances during the school year including the Thanksgiving Pow Wow and the Christmas Play.
Why? How many times a day can a child ask this question? At our school, this is an exciting word that catapults us into a quest for knowledge. Children in both the Threes' and Fours' program perform experiments, make observations and are encouraged to ask questions. There is ongoing science learning throughout the week but also a specialized Science program called, Puddle Ducks.
Puddle Ducks is a weekly science class offered for both Threes' and Fours' programs. There is a special theme curriculum covering all areas of science including life, physical and earth sciences. They learn vocabulary, read stories and do hands on experiments to learn about these science topics. Children in the extended day programs are automatically enrolled and children who attend in the morning, can also sign up for this fun class.
Sharing, Caring, Friendship and Compromising.
While there is a lot of discussion about "academics', social and emotional development is also key your child's success in school. Numerous early childhood professionals, including NAECY, cite being able to follow directions, work in groups and use words to express feelings is a large predictor for Kindergarten success. At Little Zion Preschool we feel helping your child build these skills is part of their academic experience. The Threes' program is centered around sharing, extending play to incorporate each other's ideas and beginning to work in groups. It continues in the Fours' program where the children learn to take turns in large groups, have an independent task to complete and the ability to show empathy grow.
Friendship is also a special aspect of our school. The children in our program make lasting friendships and grow together. Many continue with playdates and communication for years later. In response to this interest in staying in touch, we have created the opportunity for Kindergarteners to return to our Enrichment Clubs!
The math curriculum at Little Zion goes beyond traditional counting and pictoral representation. Not only do students practice counting to twenty daily, but mathematic concepts are woven throughout all disciplines and activities. For instance, children have fun sorting rocks and minerals by color, texture, and shape. They are challenged by math games during which they construct pictures using geometric shapes. Graphs are used frequently to represent class opinions on a variety of topics. Children are taught to use a ruler and measure classroom objects to the nearest inch. Patterning and sequencing becomes a game when it is conveyed through music and song. We decorate art projects to remember our telephone numbers and home addresses. As conceptual understanding grows, we offer extension activities for children who are ready for the next step. Number sentences and word problems are acted out and represented using stamps and stickers.
It is important not only to nourish our students academically, emotionally, and spiritually, but also with information on how to care for their bodies. Children are taught about “go, glow, grow” foods. These foods keep our bodies growing healthy and strong. We ask that students bring snacks and lunch from at least two food groups aside from their juice beverage. In our cooking classes, we teach children how to prepare healthy, delicious food. For our “Stone Soup,” children are asked to bring in a pot-luck vegetable ingredient. Participation in a collaborative project such as this promotes healthy eating and is easily translated into pride and self esteem. Once children experience success, they are more likely to internalize these lessons and repeat them in the future. Additionally, children are taught yoga for stretching and relaxation. In this way, children can be more aware of their energy levels and when they need regulation through breathing or exercise. Students learn about the human body and what is beyond our skin. They match real x-rays with its correct body part and sing songs about our body and its many jobs. Of course, no day is complete without exercise on our playground. Students absolutely love climbing up Zion’s Ark and sliding down the slide. Our playscapes, tunnels and toys provide entertainment and a means to let out a lot of energy.
Social Studies is interactive at Little Zion. Children first learn that they are part of a community and they are important members of our classroom. Rules and safety is taught through a class discussion to promote a feeling of ownership and responsibility. Children have an opportunity to pretend to be policemen, firefighters, doctors, teachers, or construction workers in our classroom, each performing an integral role of a community. Concepts such as our neighborhood, personal addresses and telephone numbers are reinforced using crafts and games. We often have visitors from the community come in to teach a special skill. Firefighters bring their gear and trucks to teach about fire prevention in October, and a dental hygienist comes in to teach about oral hygiene and what to expect when visiting the dentist in February.
Teaching about holidays lends to a very authentic understanding of important times in our nation’s history. After learning about our Nation’s elections recently, we voted on our classroom’s favorite animal. Thanksgiving is celebrated by a play during which children act out and sing the story of the Pilgrims and Native Americans. The holidays around the world are discussed and crafts such as painting a poinsettia are constructed to represent important themes in different countries. Children create post cards for members of our community. Our students perform a Christmas Pageant for family and friends and usher in the holiday season with song and cheer. Civil Rights and other important concepts are addressed using Scholastic News and other forms of literature.
We welcome children from all different faiths and backgrounds. Being that we are a Christian school, our goal here is to awaken a spiritual awareness of God in our students and show them God’s love. Our puppet, Jelly, delivers messages about love and Jesus’ example during “Jesus Time”. Students learn about important spiritual leaders on a monthly basis and are often visited by Pastor Robert Haas who teaches scripture with the use of his guitar and song. Students learn to recite simple prayers and songs and will become familiar with Jesus as their friend and Savior.